Many adults actively seek methods to lower blood pressure
naturally. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a serious epidemic in the
United States, affecting roughly one out of three adults. Left untreated,
hypertension frequently leads to serious cardiovascular disturbances including
heart attack and stroke--which, together, form the leading cause of death in
the United States.
Hypertension is far too serious to leave untreated. Often
known as a "silent killer," high blood pressure often presents with
few or no symptoms until it escalates to cause life-threatening complications,
so people with hypertension must seek effective treatment immediately upon
diagnosis. Natural treatment options, used under the guidance of a qualified
health care provider, can help to alleviate hypertension and reduce the risk of
Here are methods that have been used to try to lower blood pressure
naturally, to various degrees of efficacy.
The DASH Diet
DASH, or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, is a
highly effective natural intervention for high blood pressure. The DASH diet
rivals antihypertensive drugs in its efficacy, and surpasses it in safety.
According to Mayo Clinic, DASH reduces blood pressure in as few as two weeks,
lowering it over time by as many as 14 points. In addition to helping to lower
blood pressure naturally, DASH diets can also reduce your risk of obesity,
cancer, osteoporosis and diabetes.
While an average American diet contains roughly 3,500 mg of
sodium per day, the DASH diet restricts this intake to a maximum of 2,300 mg
(or, in a more strict version, 1,500 mg). DASH dieters must eat a diet
comprised predominantly of whole grains, vegetables, legumes and fruits. Only
lean animal products are allowed in the DASH diet, at a rate of no more than
six servings per day. The DASH diet contains very little fat, caffeine, alcohol
or processed sugar.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, more
than 95% of hypertension cases are "primary" hypertension, meaning
that they have no obvious, specific underlying cause. However, several factors
contribute to increases in a person's blood pressure. Scientists have
identified a strong link between obesity and high blood pressure, so it is
critical to address this risk factor effectively.
An active lifestyle can help to reduce body fat, thereby
decreasing your risk for hypertension. Studies have consistently revealed that
regular exercise can reduce hypertension risk by as much as 70%, compared to
people who lead sedentary lifestyles. Exercise daily for at least 30 minutes to
keep your blood pressure healthy and to improve your overall health.
L-arginine is an amino acid, or a chemical building block of
protein. Found in natural foods including red meat, poultry, fish, and milk,
L-arginine acts as a precursor to the compound nitric oxide. Nitric oxide
causes blood vessels to dilate, reducing the amount of pressure in veins and
arteries. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, a deficiency
in nitric oxide may contribute to the onset of hypertension.
Foods and supplements containing L-arginine may act as
effective natural treatments for high blood pressure, but evidence is somewhat
mixed. According to the National Institutes of Health, "There is some
evidence that taking L-arginine can slightly lower blood pressure in healthy
people and in people with type 2 diabetes who have mild high blood
pressure." Although generally safe, L-arginine can have some side effects.
Consult your health care provider about the use of L-arginine as a supplement.
Used for millennia as both a food and medicine, garlic is a
pungent plant with powerful medicinal properties. The National Institutes of
Health regards garlic as "possibly effective" as a treatment for
hypertension, noting that studies have found blood pressure reductions of 7 - 8
% among people using garlic extracts. Garlic included in diet may also help to
reduce the risk of related cardiovascular conditions, such as high cholesterol
and atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries.
Unfortunately, no treatment is completely free of
risk, especially to people with multiple medical conditions. Before
self-treating any medical condition, always consult your primary health care
provider to discuss the benefits, risks and expectations associated with any